Car Seat & Booster Seat Guidelines & Safety Tips: What Parents Need to Know! by Dr. Hannah Chow-Johnson

6 years ago

Car Seat & Booster Seat Guidelines & Safety Tips: What Parents Need to Know!

There have been changes to car seat safety guidelines, and many parents aren’t happy about them. The one I hear the most push-back about is that all children younger than 2 should ride in the car seat facing backward. I know this can be difficult, but facing backward is the safest place in the car for young kids. 

  • Children between ages 2 and 4 should be in a front-facing seat with a five-point restraint. 
  • Children older than 4 should sit in a booster seat until they are 4 feet, 9 inches – and even then, they should be in the back seat. 

Here are more car seat safety tips from

  • Kids who have outgrown a forward-facing harness seat are not ready for just a seat belt. Instead, they should transition to a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly.
  • When your child is seated in the booster seat, make sure the lap and shoulder belts fit snugly. The lap belt should fit low across the hips and the shoulder belt across the shoulder, not behind the back or under the arm.
  • Children no longer needs booster seats when they can pass the following Safety Belt Fit Test:

- The child's knees should bend at the edge of the seat when his or her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back.

- The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs.

- The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. Older kids get weighed and measured less often than babies, so check your child's growth a few times a year. Generally, kids need to use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. For most kids, they will be between ages 8 to 12 years old.

  • We know that when adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
  • When carpooling, make sure you have enough seating positions and car seats or booster seats for every child in your car. Be sure that kids enter and exit curbside.

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